Should exam content be changed to be more in line with what is needed for the workplace?

There is a current view that there is a gap in a learners knowledge between what they learn at school and what they need in the workplace. For example, they come out of school with an English qualification but are they equipped for using English in the business world? Do they have the ability to write a report, a business letter, hold a conversation with a client and take part in meetings? To bridge this gap functional skills in the core subjects (English, Maths and I.C.T.) are being gradually introduced into the school curriculum. However, to make this really effective and benefit all learners, shouldn't functional skills be embedded across all subjects and exams modified, to reflect these changes in order to meet the needs of employers?

Tags: Curriculum, business, content, exam, functional, skills, workplace

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Hi Aimee,
This year ( our new school year starts in two weeks) the whole school is going to spend the first 3 weeks reintroducing and focusing on the skills needed to be equipped for society ( we use inquiry based learning and we work very closely with Kath Murdoch- a guru in my eyes). Rather than jump into a theme or inquiry topic, there will be a real focus on the skills school wide. We will all use common language and make the skills visible. For the remainder of the school year we will ensure that the students are continually coached in these skills. There is as much weighting given to the skills as to the content in the children's reports. It might be one thing to say a child can achieve 100% in a math exam, but can they communicate, reflect, collaborate, manage their time, create, evaluate? We believe they are as equally important. It takes a whole school approach and parent awareness to ensure it's success. My students are 7 years old and before we commence a task, there is always one skill that we will revisit and look out for, it's as simple as saying " Who is going to be a good self- manager during this activity? What does a self- manager look like? They collect their equipment, they move straight back to their learning space, they get on with the task immediately , etc". Teachers often complain that children waste time, lack manners, lack time-management skills and the likes. It is up to us to teach all of this and continue to coach them as we would with knowledge, content and physical education skills. I'll let you know how I get on with my new class.
Thanks Aimee

Hi Aimee, interesting proposition. As much as I think gaining employment is a credible way of judging an education I would feel uncomfortable with the idea of teaching students content that only leads to a job.I don't think that when an artist especially one that goes on to be successful thinks  I hope this leads to a great job at the end of this is an approach to producing that art. I think there has to be a balance here. Of course functional skills have to be taught but will this be at the expense of other skills? Will other skills go down the heirachy table of skills set by employers?



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